IPOL-352 US Foreign Policy in Conflict States
Spring for 2017-2018
Diplomacy is never easy. Developing and implementing a coherent and comprehensive foreign policy in a country or region at conflict can be even more challenging. Much of the academic, political, and media attention is often focused on U.S. foreign policy shortcomings or blunders. This course will instead look at successful U.S. foreign policy initiatives in conflict states, and attempt to glean positive lessons from these experiences and apply them to current challenges. In the first half of the semester we will examine U.S. policy in the Balkans (1990s) and Colombia (2000s), with a particular focus on the latter where 15 years of uninterrupted U.S. support played a critical role in that South American country's transformation from a near-failed narco-state to a rapidly growing and forward-looking middle-income ally. Although significant challenges remain, and the word “success” should be used with a measure of modesty in both contexts, these cases nonetheless provide fertile ground for us to better understand how to get a diplomatic intervention largely right. In the second half we will apply the lessons learned from these positive U.S. foreign policy initiatives to current conflict situations such as in Iraq and Syria. Your grade for this course will be based on classroom engagement and three written assignments (concise, short papers) due throughout the semester. The instructor is an active duty Foreign Service Officer with diplomatic experience in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America, including his most recent assignment working with the US Special Envoy to the Colombia Peace Process.
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